Friday, 19 September 2008

Sorry Mike, but...

Anyone read Mike Atherton's latest on the county game?

You can read it here

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/columnists/mike_atherton/article4775993.ece

I just don't follow it. One minute he's saying that England are an improving side. The next that we can't capitalise on this until our Test ground counties are strong again.

It is an article of contradictions that has a Scooby Doo ending. Why Mike? Good players are good players, irrespective of the county that produces them. Just because they cannot all be signed by the moneybags counties, our supposed elite, changes nothing.

Warwickshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire and Surrey are only average sides, despite a multi-million pound turnover. Middlesex are only a little better and inconsistent, while Nottinghamshire are the best of the bunch but far from unbeatable.

When cricket goes the way of football, my interest goes with it. There have been periods of dominance for several sides over the years, but this has been when a batch of fine players came together. Beating the Yorkshire of Hirst, Rhodes, Sutcliffe, Leyland and Bowes was difficult. Doing the same to the Surrey of Laker, Lock, Loader and Bedser the same. These were players who came together by dint of fate, not poached from less affluent neighbours by a fat cheque book. There, in a nutshell, you have the reason why people rejoice in Lancashire's current problems and smirk when Warwickshire poach the "creme de la creme" of other counties.

OK. Ant Botha. Boyd Rankin. Rikki Clarke. Make that skimmed milk...

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